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How the internet has changed the way we shop in the last 30 years

Online shopper habits set to stick

Online shopper habits set to stick

On the day marking 30 years since Tim Berners-Lee first set out his idea of the World Wide Web – now better known as the internet, it’s interesting to reflect for a moment on how his invention has changed the way we shop. Progress was slow at first. Berners-Lee’s paper was published in 1989, and the first ecommerce services were launched in the late 1990s by retailers including Amazon and Tesco. Today, around 20% of UK retail transactions take place online. 

It’s notable that two retailers reporting figures today show that dramatic changes to their businesses, as a result of the invention of the internet, have come in the last five years – but with very different effects. Domino’s Pizza Group said today that the “speed of migration to digital ordering over the last five years has been extraordinary”. The change has helped its business to become a digital-first one: measured by volume, 89% of its orders in the last year, it said today, had come online. It’s opening more shops as it looks to achieve its potential. 

French Connection and Mothercare, meanwhile, are closing shops – French Connection says that it has halved the size of its store estate over the last five years, while Mothercare plans to see its store estate fall to 80 by March 2019 from 137 in May 2019. Both are seeing the proportion of goods that they sell online increasing steadily at a time when footfall to stores is falling, as measured in the latest BRC-Springboard figures on footfall. It’s notable that Domino’s has seen only a small rise in collections over the last year although it has encouraged that behaviour through 

Front of many minds today will be today’s vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal on the terms on which the UK would leave the European Union. In our coverage today, we report on the FTA’s warnings about what happens if no deal is reached and on how one warehouse was opened purely as a result of Brexit,, and we have a guest comment from Chris Labrey of Econocom, who argues that it’s important not to put off technology decisions because of Brexit.  Our regular guest comment, meanwhile, comes from Jason Lark of Celerity on how customer loyalty schemes are changing to meet customers’ needs.

Image: Fotolia

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